When you look at healthcare, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that IT will dominate the landscape for the foreseeable future. For hospitals, medical facilities, and even private practices, staying on top of these trends will prove to be critically important.
The 4 Health IT Trends Worth Tracking
When it comes to healthcare, there’s no time like the present. Technology has never been more advanced, which is good news for both providers and patients. As we enter the last few months of 2017 and begin preparing for 2018, here are some health IT trends worth keeping an eye on.
1. Software and Service Management
Modern healthcare organizations spend a lot of time, energy, and money maintaining various IT systems and programs in an effort to stay on top of security, compliance, and patient relations. Behind the scenes, this creates a major challenge on the IT management front. IT issues can cause big delays that ultimately end with poor service and inefficiencies.
One area that’s experiencing a lot of transformation is help desk and IT asset management. Tools like Web Help Desk provide prompt and transparent communication between IT technicians and the end users, which creates better service for everyone involved.
2. Telemedicine Across the Board
“Historically, programs implementing a telemedicine project hired a technology professional to help select, install, and maintain equipment and broadband telecommunications,” says Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).
Telemedicine has always had potential, but up until that last couple of years, adoption rates have limited growth. Today, large healthcare organizations are comfortable with the idea and are using it to expand.
As Linkous explains, “Many large health systems are moving away from pilot projects using telemedicine toward a strategic approach integrating telemedicine services throughout the organization’s clinical operations. Thus, telemedicine becomes a catalyst to the transformation of the entire enterprise from, for example, from a bricks and mortar facility to a region-wide health provider.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, the blockchain is essentially an incorruptible digital ledger of activity and transactions that can be accessed by anyone from anywhere.
As BlockGeeks explains it, “Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.”
In 2018, look for health and life insurers to rely more on blockchain in an effort to improve record keeping and establish more accuracy and transparency with stakeholders.
4. Information Security
When you look at the sectors that cybercriminals are targeting, healthcare is right up there with finance as one of the highest risk industries. They know that healthcare data is valuable and aim their crosshairs firmly on organizations that could potentially have loopholes somewhere inside their systems.
Thankfully, information security technology is vastly improved. Throughout 2018, this will continue to be an area of focus for technologists. Look for networks to become more secure and smart medical devices to focus less on advancing features (for the time being) and more on protection against threats.
Prepare for an Explosion of Innovation
The thing about technology is it never stops evolving. Instead of keeping an eye on one specific technology and thinking about how to respond, healthcare organizations should think about the larger trends and prepare accordingly. There will be an explosion of innovation in the next few years and competitive organizations will have to be prepared.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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